Russia's Medvedev says he could run again in 2012

Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:14am GMT

By Oleg Shchedrov

PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday he could run for a second term in 2012, but made clear a job swap with his powerful Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was also possible.

The issue of who will take the Kremlin post in 2012 is a sensitive one for investors in Russia drafting their mid-term plans.

"If I work well, if people trust me, why not run?" Medvedev, in Pittsburgh for a summit of the G20 group of leading economies, told a student during a question-and-answer session at Pittsburgh University.

Medvedev was elected president last year with the strong support of his predecessor and mentor Vladimir Putin.

Putin remains more popular and influential than Medvedev and some Russia-watchers speculate Putin is planning to return to the presidency in 2012.

He fuelled a wave of speculation earlier this month by telling foreign academics and journalists he and Medvedev would decide which of them will run in the next elections.

Putin said he and Medvedev would not compete.

Economic crisis has not damaged the two men's popularity ratings and either would be favourite to win the next presidential poll if he ran.   Continued...

<p>Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (L) and wife Svetlana Medvedeva arrive at the Phipps Conservatory for an opening reception and working dinner for heads of delegation at the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania September 24, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young</p>
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